Google/Aardvark: All About Local?

Google announced last week the acquisition of Aardvark, a social question & answer service. Even though the service had only 90,000+ users (as of last October), they had very good buzz amongst the digerati.

Thinking about a potential integration point, John Battelle said that the goal of Aardvark’s co-founder would be to be ” integrated into the main search interface, such that when you ask Google a question, it would give you the option of “asking a human” through the ‘vark service. Now that would be pretty cool.”

As I mentioned in Greg Sterling’s blog, Google already includes Aardvark in Google Labs and says the most popular queries are:

  • Travel tips
  • Restaurant & bar recommendations
  • Product reviews/opinions
  • Local services and entertainment suggestions

Those questions sounds like Yellow Pages searches to me! As most readers of this blog know (Warning! Sales pitch!), my company Praized Media has created a local Q&A module that can be integrated into any local media publisher’s web site. Yellow Pages Group, with their Yellow Pages Answers deployment, is our largest customer using it. When we talk to directory publishers, we suggest integration within search results pages, exactly like Battelle’s speculation above. Local Answers becomes the back-up social search tool for long-tail queries that local search engines can’t answer today. Pre-acquisition, Aarvark was already answering many local queries and you can expect Google to start leveraging the content and the Q&A technology to improve its user experience.

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